Diversity makes good business sense. Diverse work teams who practice inclusion are more innovative, and they represent the market they serve better than a group of white men. Effective communication of this truth (not a simple task) will yield results, but this has not been the strategy to this point. Instead corporate America has been shamed for being too white, too straight, too male. This strategy has been resisted, and will continue to be. Show the wisdom and innovation that comes from diverse, inclusive work teams, and the market will engage. Shame them, and they will resist… silently, but they will resist.
We’ve tied the wrong objective to our diversity strategies. Why do we want more diverse work teams? The objective has been to afford more opportunity to ethnic groups and women who don’t currently share an equal piece of the pie. Not that this isn’t virtuous, but this shaming doesn’t inspire change in the business world. The objective needs to shift to: diversity makes good business sense. A diverse workforce is more innovative and reaches a rapidly changing market’s needs more effectively. Do what you’ve always done, and you won’t get what you’ve always gotten. Best practices don’t reap the results they have in the past. Winning requires an agile competent, innovative, and diverse team who is empowered to pivot with the changing needs of the emerging market. Stop pushing with shame, and start pulling with good business sense.